This year, footwear virtuoso Giuseppe Zanotti marks 20 years of his eponymous brand, and he’s doing so in highly glamorous fashion. To commemorate the occasion, the company has released Jewel, the first of four anniversary capsule collections, this one featuring Zanotti’s popular flat sandals reimagined in gold with glittering details. These shoes will arrive in a selection of Zanotti’s flagship stores in June, and we were lucky to have the opportunity to ask Giuseppe himself a few questions about his illustrious history as one of the shoe biz’s biggest names. (more…)

Despite changes at Louis Vuitton in every area from creative director to accessories strategy, it looks like one thing is staying constant, at least for now: Michelle Williams will be the face of Louis Vuitton’s accessories campaign for another season. (more…)

Late last week, word broken that more than $100,000 worth of clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories had been swiped from Saint Laurent’s Chicago boutique in a brazen smash-and-grab robbery in the middle of the night, and now we’ve received an interesting note from a tipster: a Saint Laurent Crocodile Sac de Jour Bag, priced at over $29,000, was among the loot missing from the store when the cops arrived. (more…)

If your interest in designer handbags has sprung up any time in the past ten to 15 years, then you’ve heard the tales of “factory extras.” They’re not fakes, according to the people who would like to convince you to part with your money. No, they’d never sell you fake bags! (more…)

It’s been a turbulent year for handbag favorite Mulberry. First, creative director Emma Hill left at the end of last summer, amid rumors that she and management weren’t exactly getting along. Now, word broke late last week that CEO Bruno Guillon has up and quit, ending his short run with the brand, which Reuters characterized as “turblent.” What happens from here? (more…)

What’s that you say? The world’s most expensive and exclusive handbags have the most expensive luxury retail address on Madison Avenue at which to rest their rarified haunches in anticipation of being scooped up by the world’s elite? Preposterous.

Ok, so it’s not exactly shocking that the Hermes flagship boutique at the corner of Madison Avenue and 62nd Street, smack in the middle of Manhattan’s toniest retail district, pays the most rent per square foot of space on the famed avenue. What’s shocking is the number: over $1,700 per square foot for a space in excess of 30,000 square feet. (more…)

The rumors have finally been confirmed: Nicolas Ghesquiere, formerly of Balenciaga, will replace Marc Jacobs as the creative head behind Louis Vuitton’s women’s division, according to an announcement made by the brand on its official Twitter account this morning. Women’s Wear Daily reports that the first collection in Ghesquiere’s tenure at Vuitton will be the Fall 2014 show in March. (more…)

Kanye West is a man with many thoughts. Thoughts about art, thoughts about Kim Kardashian, thoughts about his own brilliance and, as it turns out, thoughts about Louis Vuitton. West once regularly referred to himself as the “Louis Vuitton Don” in his lyrics, but those days have passed us by. These days, Kanye thinks about Vuitton what many of you seem to think: that the brand could use a little price adjustment. (more…)

For an experience that’s supposed to be so lovely and luxurious, shopping for fashion can be everything from frustrating to dehumanizing, and it can be those things all too often for some shoppers. Over the past week, Barneys’ New York flagship store has been hit by allegations that it surreptitiously called the cops on two paying customers for nothing other than having the temerity to be black while buying something expensive. One of those customers, Kayla Phillips, says she was targeted after buying a Celine Luggage Tote.

Unless you fit the narrow, impeccably dressed profile of what many luxury stores consider to be the kind of people to whom they’d like to cater, you probably know what it’s like to get a dirty look or be totally ignored while trying to spend your hard-earned dollars on a handbag. As a young, non-skinny woman with pink hair, I rarely get attention from sales associates at high-end stores unless I’m carrying an uber-conspicuous handbag or a large shopping bag from an equally elite store. As embarrassing as it can be to try to flag down assistance from someone who has already judged you as poor, distasteful or both, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to complete a purchase with your own money, leave the store and then get stopped by the cops. I can’t fathom that sort of humiliation while shopping, or why store employees feel they have a right to treat anyone like that.

Barneys, for its part, denies that any of its associates called the cops on anyone and that it was the NYPD itself that decided to question the African-American shoppers once they left the store. The NYPD, on the other hand, insists that they were summoned by employees. No matter who started the ball rolling down hill, the assumptions inherent in both incidents are clear: if a young black person has enough money to buy something expensive, it’s not because she worked hard and saved money, or she, like so many people in New York City, just has money to spend on silly things like handbags. It’s because she stole something. In the end, the implication is that nice things aren’t meant for those people. Fashion certainly benefits monetarily from its close association with hip-hop (an association which is only getting closer), but if you want to stroll into a high-end store and expect high-end service, you best be Rihanna.

Over the weekend, several fashion industry vets on Twitter linked to Horacio Silva’s 2007 New York Times Critical Shopper column about the opening of the Tom Ford boutique on Madison Avenue. Silva didn’t have the cops called on him, but he was treated like he didn’t belong in the store on his first visit, shoo’d away from personal shopping areas and mostly left to wander the store without assistance, as though no employees wanted to encourage him to remain in the store longer than he might otherwise be inclined. (On a second visit, after the staff had been tipped off to his place of employment, Silva got the white glove treatment.) Fashion retail has had a tough time walking the line between “exclusive” and “exclusionary” for quite some time, and it looks like scant progress has been made. If you don’t look the part, down to the color of your skin, good luck finding someone to help you lighten your wallet.

Have you been profiled at a high-end boutique or department store because of your ethnicity, weight or general appearance? Let us know about it in the comments.

It’s been a big week for luxury theft in the news. First, a woman in England was found guilty of stealing nearly 1,000 designer handbags, one by one, over a period of three years. If that weren’t enough, yesterday came word that an entire Hermes collection had been stolen off the back of a truck in Milan, forcing the cancellation of an Hermes press preview that had been scheduled. It seems as though, when it comes to luxury goods, fingers the world over just keep getting stickier and stickier. (more…)

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